Police cars ‘held together with duct tape and cable ties’ and officers using ‘mouldy’ interview rooms due to cash shortage
SHOCKING photos show damp and mouldy conditions as the
Scottish Police Federation blast boards for making a ‘pig’s ear’ of
overseeing the force merger.
POLICE Scotland are using cars held together with duct tape
and cable ties, while interview suites for sex assault victims have
water coming in and mouldy carpets, the body that represents
rank-and-file officers has said.
Calum Steele, general secretary
of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), said decades of
under-investment in infrastructure has left the force with a “crumbling
He warned Justice Secretary Michael Matheson: “If
we do not turn our attention to dealing with these things now, our
police service is going to go off a cliff edge.
“We are at a precipice, there are huge risks to this service.”
Steele was speaking at an SPF fringe meeting at the SNP conference in
Glasgow, and he showed a series of photographs to the audience.
said there had been “decades of failures to invest” in infrastructure,
claiming police boards that ran the eight forces which merged to form
Police Scotland had “made a pig’s ear of looking after the things they
were charged with looking after”.
Mr Steele said: “Decades of failures cannot be afforded to
be left unchecked at this point of time, because if we do we will have a
service that rather than delivering excellence can only ever aspire to
mediocrity, and I don’t think that’s going to be good enough.”
claimed officers “are fighting 21st-century crime with technology that
was developed in the 1990s”, with the force using “versions of Windows
that Microsoft no longer supports”.
Day to day spending at Police
Scotland on expenses such as staffing is expected to be £21 million
over budget by the end of 2016-17.
Mr Steele continued: “Police
officers are doing a hell of a job under very, very difficult
circumstances, the scale of the financial challenge facing the police
service is enormous.”
He showed pictures that he said came from
inside police buildings, and of one of the cars being used, and said:
“We have a crisis, a genuine crisis, coming round the corner as far as
our facilities are concerned.”
An interview suite used to
question victims of sex crimes who have undergone a “harrowing ordeal”
has mould on the carpets as well as damp on the ceilings, water coming
in and “absolutely stinks of damp”, he said.
“That’s the kind of
facilities we, through no fault of our own, are bringing victims of
crime. Can you imagine for a moment what that must be like going in
there, looking for a professional service?”
Mr Steele continued: “We have police vehicles held together
with duct tape and cable ties. Duct tape and cable ties, that is what is
keeping our fleet together on the road right now because we have no
“This is the reality of no money to invest in the estate of the police service of Scotland.”
Matheson, who was also at the fringe event, said the pictures
“illustrate the chronic under-investment in the police estate over many
The Justice Secretary also spoke of the “challenges
which will be faced going forward for Police Scotland to try to invest
in these areas where they can in order to try to improve the
But he stressed: “These are not issues that have
just arisen through the creation of Police Scotland, they have been
there for many, many years. It is going to take time in order to deal
with some of these issues.
“A key part of what has to happen is
for the service to prioritise areas where it wants to see that capital
investment going into in order to make sure it is dealing with the areas
that require to be addressed as early as possible.
“There is an
estate plan which the police themselves are taking forward. These
haven’t happened through the creation of Police Scotland, that is
through previous lack of investment into the police estate by the former
legacy forces that will have to be addressed in the years going forward
by Police Scotland.”
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